Switching BlimpDuino from modded toy blimps to a custom vectoring thruster platform was the best move we've made so far. Not only does it save a lot of money and fuss, but the vectoring thrusters give us much better control, including total command over the vertical dimension, which had plagued us before when we were using static thrusters. Right now we're testing it in RC mode to understand the flight dynamics better, but the same processor board can fly autonomously.
Here's a video of it in flight, showing both turning (with differential thrusters) and altitude control (with vectoring);
You might notice that it looks like I've got a breadboard with a tangle of wires controlling the blimp. That's because I do.
I'm having trouble debugging the latest BlimpDuino board (the one with built-in RC mode), so I've replicated it on a small breadboard (using every single available row!). It's using this code.
Here's what it looks like up close (and yes, those are Lego gears and shafts. Why use anything else?) :